CLEARWATER, Fla. — Alfredo Simon wants to keep the hitters guessing.
After all, who would guess that a 6-6, 265-pound man that has an average 94 mile-per-hour fastball would uncork a 57-60 mile-per-hour pitch?
It certainly garners some interesting reactions.
"I know if I throw it down, they’re not gonna swing," Simon said. "They’re just like, ‘What was that?’"
Simon even surprised the Tigers with it as he wasn’t throwing it during his early bullpen sessions this spring.
But you can expect it during the season.
"We’ve seen it half a dozen times in two outings so I would assume we will at some point," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Simon used it during the Tigers’ 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater Tuesday.
Some call it an eephus, but Simon calls it his "slow split."
"My mechanics, the split is almost the same," Simon said . They think I’m going to throw a fastball and then I just throw the slow split. It’s difficult to hit because they’re waiting for fastball, two-seamer, like 94-95. It’s not easy to hit like that."
Simon said he threw it to Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis.
"When you throw that ball so slow, it’s difficult to hit," Simon said. "After that, when you throw a two-seamer down, it’s going to be hard for the hitter to hit the ball."
Players don’t usually swing at the pitch but Simon is not worried if they do.
"If I have a man on second and I know it’s like a really good hitter, I just try to make the hitter hit a fly ball," Simon said. "It’s so slow, if they’re going to hit it, they’re going to hit a fly ball. That’s why I use that pitch."
Simon said no one taught it to him, he developed the pitch himself.
"Last year I used to throw that pitch and it was successful for me," he said. "I can try to use it this year. I can throw it for a strike, I can throw it for a ball. Depends on what to get the hitter out."
Simon doesn’t use the pitch a lot.
"I just use that pitch to change the eyes of the hitter," Simon said. "I just try to play with the hitter, make him uncomfortable. That’s why I use that pitch."
Simon used all of his pitches against the Phillies, needing only 37 to get through three innings.
"I thought he threw well," Ausmus said. "He was very efficient. He was concentrating on his slider the last couple innings. He got done what he needed to get done."
Simon is pleased so far with his first two outings.
"I had all my pitches working, try to keep them down," Simon said. "Throw my slider, my split. I feel really good today."
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